Boro’ have taken on their fair share of opponents down the years and some of those teams have simply been no more than passing acquaintances, while there are others that have become – well – annoyingly familiar. For all the many times we’ve faced teams like Woking, there have been rare match-ups too. So, we’re asking, where do Rayners Lane stand in the grand scheme of things?
Rayners Lane: Us And Them
It’s often interesting to look at Boro’s record against sides we’ve gone up against more times than you’ve had hot dinners and take a look at how the balance of power has shifted and drifted. But just as intriguing are the one-off encounters; chance meetings that are little more than subliminal explosions in the historical consciousness of our club. Much like Rayners Lane were.
The Lane rocked up to our humble gaff in the late 1980s for the one recorded meeting between us and them. It’s little wonder the FA Cup was the staging ground, with the North London side pretty much confined to the Hellenic League since becoming paid up members in 1978. But for time in the Middlesex and Chiltonian Leagues, they’ve known little else in the past 40-odd years.
So, it was the FA Cup Preliminary Round and, well, we’re not going to be offended if their one fleeting experience of life taking on Boro’ was enough to last them for the rest of eternity. Mark Timpson bagged a brace as the hosts romped to a 6-1 win and passage into the next round of the competition. One of the Lane’s lads even chipped in with an OG, such was their bad day at our office.
It was only the third season in which Rayners Lane had entered the FA Cup. And after their 1988 showdown with us, they took a further four punts at the competition before knocking it on the head. And that’s about it. The door slammed shut on the chances of us ever meeting the Lane again. A quirk of how the pyramid works, a twist of footballing fate; it’s funny how it all works, innit?
The wonderful world of non-league football means that it’s impossible to predict who you might come up against in the Cup, Trophy or Vase. Too many variables. You have a much better chance of getting it right on the Premier League or Champions League predictions at thatsagoal. At this level of the game, there’s a creeping sense of familiarity and sometimes that’s just a bit of a shame.
Not least because the chances of coming up against a Rayners Lane again are slim. We’d probably end up with Hartlepool. Again.
BoroGuide’s Rayners Lane club profile – for old time’s sake…